Russia, India to sign 10 billion dollars of deals: official

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 10, 2010 14:20 hrs

Russia and India will sign defence and other deals worth more than 10 billion dollars during a visit by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to New Delhi this week, a top official said Wednesday.

"A preliminary estimate shows that the volume of the business deals in monetary value will top 10 billion dollars," Putin's foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov told reporters.

In New Delhi on Friday, Russian and Indian officials hope to ink at least 14 or 15 agreements, Ushakov said.

The most significant deals include a contract to sell India 29 MiG fighter jets and an additional agreement on the Admiral Gorshkov, a Soviet-era aircraft carrier sold to India and being refurbished by a Russian firm, Ushakov said.

He declined to give a breakdown of the 10 billion dollar package.

The Admiral Gorshkov sale has been marred by price disputes and delayed deliveries, compounding concerns in Moscow that India could be tempted to end its dependence on Russian military equipment.

Ushakov said the new agreement would iron out remaining sticking points.

"Judging by everything, we are approaching an agreement that will suit both sides," he said.

The visit starts late Thursday and lasts through Friday. Putin plans to meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Indian President Pratibha Patil and Sonia Gandhi, president of the ruling Congress party.

This will be Putin's first trip to India in his current capacity. As president, he last visited the country in 2007.

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